|PH||H. Justus (OU)||14.100|
|VT||T. Justus(OU)/ Cole (UM)||15.000|
NORMAN — The top-ranked Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team dominated No. 8 Michigan 430.0500 to 400.050 in its first home meet of the year in front of 1,638 fans, including more than 400 students and family members from Cleveland Elementary School, on Cleveland Night inside the McCasland Field House Saturday.
“A great finish, I do not remember that last time we stuck all six high bar dismounts to cap things off,” head coach Mark Williams. “I thought P-bars and high bar were very good for us tonight. It was a little slow at the beginning. Overall, we put up a good score, a good performance, and I was very happy with the crowd in the building. It is a good home meet for us.”
Sooner gymnasts swept the event titles, including an all-around win from sophomore Yul Moldauer who posted the second highest total in the country so far this year with an 88.350. Moldauer also took home the crowns on floor, rings and parallel bars. Junior Hunter Justus won the event title on pommel horse while his younger brother Tanner Justus took home the vault title. Sophomore Levi Anderson rounded things out with a win on high bar.
“That is the difference maker,” Williams said of the Cleveland contingent in attendance. “They are awesome. They sold 500 tickets to the event, they are involved in everything that we have done, from the score flashing, awards, doing the national anthem, and the kids are having fun and appreciating the guys that go over there and work with them in the classroom. I cannot be happier about the result for Cleveland Night.”
Oklahoma opened the night on floor where it got several strong scores, including a season-high 14.850 from Moldauer. A 14.250 from senior Thao Hoang and a 14.200 from Hunter Justus also helped push the Sooners to a team score of 70.750, their second highest of the year on floor. Tanner Justus continued his strong Sooner beginnings with a career-high 13.650 in his first ever routine in front of the home crowd.
On pommel horse, the Sooners saw a pair of scores of 14.000 or better and put up a team mark of 69.150. Hunter Justus led the way with a 14.100 from the leadoff spot while Moldauer turned in a 14.050. OU also got a 13.600 from sophomore Genki Suzuki in the anchor position and senior co-captain Josh Yee and sophomore Grant Kell each scored 13.650.
The Sooners picked it up a notch in the third rotation. Working on rings, which has been their strongest event so far this year, the Sooners posted a 72.000 on the backs of several big routines. Moldauer led the way with a 15.100, just the third score of 15.000 or better in NCAA gymnastics so far this year (all of which have come from Sooners). Hunter Justus notched a 14.750 in the four spot while Hoang (14.150) and senior Reese Rickett (14.100) also topped the 14-point mark. At the halfway point the Sooners led Michigan 211.900 to 205.400.
Vault proved to be Oklahoma’s best event of the day. The Sooners posted a season-high 73.650 to stretch their lead to nearly 15 points. Tanner Justus led the way with a 15.000, his second score of 15.000 or better in as many tries as a Sooner. In addition to Justus, OU counted four other scores of 14.000 or better. Sophomore Levi Anderson threw a 14.850 in the anchor position, Moldauer notched a 14.600, senior co-captain Colin Van Wicklen, who was making his 2017 debut, scored 14.600 and senior Todd Dowdy posted a 14.550.
The momentum kept rolling on parallel bars as the Sooners posted a team score of 71.800 and further expanded their lead. Moldauer anchored the event with a 15.150. All three of his parallel bars routines this year have topped the 15-point mark. He leads the nation on the event. Hunter Justus scored a strong 14.450 of his own while Suzuki (14.300) and senior Alex Powarzynski (14.100) also turned in high marks. With just one rotation remaining, OU led 357.350 to 335.700.
Oklahoma was dominant once again on high bar on Saturday night. The Sooners counted four scores of 14.500 or better, entering the night there had been just one such score in all of NCAA gymnastics on the year. All six Sooners stuck their dismounts with Anderson pacing the team by posting an NCAA-high 14.900. OU also saw huge marks from Van Wicklen (14.600), Moldauer (14.550) and Suzuki (14.400).
“You get goosebumps cheering, yelling, and you almost lose your voice cheering,” Moldauer said. “Anytime your teammate sticks, it’s not just a routine it’s the background of it. When you stick it or your teammates stick a dismount it is because they have been working so hard in the gym, so it is really nice to see that pay off.”
The Sooners are off next weekend but will return to action on Feb. 10 when they travel to Iowa City, Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes and the Golden Gophers of Minnesota in a tri-meet. OU returns to the McCasland Field House on Saturday, Feb. 25 to take on MPSF foe Air Force in a 6:50 p.m. CT meet. Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling the OU Athletics Tickets Office at (405) 325-2424 or toll-free at (800) 456-GoOU.